Ask people on the street in Michigan if they have an estate plan in place and the likely response will be that they have wills and so are all set. But is that true? Are wills the best answer? What about a trust? In fact, what is a trust?
A will takes care of a person's estate and affairs after death. A trust can be put in place to control how a person's affairs are handled if that person becomes ill, incapacitated or otherwise unable to make decisions regarding day-to-day life. Things like paying bills and making medical decisions can be designated to a trustee. In the event of a catastrophic illness, such as Alzheimer's, a stroke or similar condition, a trustee is in place to carry out the person's wishes as designated in a trust. A trust enables a person to maintain control over his or her affairs even if the person becomes incapacitated.
A trust can also stipulate what is to be done with a person's estate in the event of his or her death. With this provision, it can replace a will. A benefit to a trust over a will is that a trust is private versus a will that may have to go through probate and so become public.
A person in Michigan considering estate planning could benefit from implementing a trust. A conversation with an experienced estate planning attorney can assist a person in making the best decision for his or her situation. The lawyer can assist the person with understanding the differences between wills and trusts and assist one in creating the documents that best suit the client's needs.
Source: cityviewmag.com, "To Will or to Trust ??? Cityview", Carolyn Evans, May 4, 2018